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Granger standout headed to Marion Military Institute

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

He was Mr. Dependable.

When Donnie Branch took over as LaGrange High’s head baseball coach before the 2019 season, he penciled in Mason Green as his starting shortstop.

While there were plenty of changes over the course of the past two seasons, there was one constant, and that was Green’s presence at the shortstop position. Green was in the lineup throughout the 2019 season, and he was on the field for every game of an abbreviated 2020 season that ended after 13 games.

While Green’s senior season was cut short, he will get to keep playing a game that means so much to him.

Green has committed to play baseball at Marion Military Institute in Marion, Ala., and he’s hoping to be in the lineup when the 2021 season begins in February.

“I liked it because you have the school part, and the rest is just baseball pretty much,” Green said. “There’s nothing to do in the town. You just go to school, and go to the field, and just practice baseball.”

As effective a player as Green was in high school, Branch believes he hasn’t come close to realizing his potential.

“The deal with Mason, I think his best days are ahead,” Branch said. “He was very small. We got a little weight on him this year and he’s gotten stronger, but I think his body is going to keep developing. I think his ceiling is high. He has a ways to go. I think he can keep getting better with the way he works. He’s a baseball junkie, and he loves to play, loves to practice. He’s a good student, and he’s very disciplined. So I’m looking forward to being able to follow him, and watch him flourish.”

When Green committed to Marion Military Institute he felt good about his chances of starting from day one, but what the roster makeup will look like next season remains to be seen because of an NCAA decision that means that spring student-athletes won’t lose a year of eligibility.

“As of right now, I’m supposed to be the starting shortstop whenever I get there, but with everything going on, I don’t know who’ll be coming back,” Green said.

Like all of his fellow seniors, Green is dealing with the disappointment of having his final season as a high-school player end prematurely.

LaGrange swept a doubleheader from Spalding County on March 12, and those turned out to be the final two games of the season.

LaGrange, which was preparing for its Region 5-AAAA opener against Cartersville, finished the season with a 9-4 record.

When the season was suspended there was some hope play could continue, but that hope was dashed last week when schools across the state were canceled for the remainder of the school year.

As painful as that was, Green is grateful for the time he had as a member of the LaGrange baseball family.

“I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Green said. “There’s really nothing like it. Being on the field, it’s like a second home almost.”

Green, who throws with his right hand but is a left-handed hitter, was in the midst of a solid senior season.

While getting the job done defensively at shortstop, Green had at least one hit in 10 of LaGrange’s 13 games.

Green was also a team leader, although he wasn’t one of the more vocal players on the roster.

“I’m not just going to get out and yell at everybody,” Green said. “I’ll talk to them, and say the things I need to say when I need to.”

Looking ahead, Green believes he’ll continue to improve as a baseball player.

“I think I can get a lot bigger and stronger, and just become a better athlete, and just keep progressing,” Green said.

Branch has no doubt Green has what it takes to succeed at a military school.

“You have to be the right kid, and I think he is,” Branch said. “I think he’s a great match for there because he’s a disciplined worker, and a very hard-working young man. I think he fits in well there. Their coach is a really good coach and does a good job of developing kids, helping them move on to the next level.”